- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

President Trump mocked Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler on Thursday after the Democrat was tear gassed during a standoff between protesters and federal agents the night before.

“He made a fool out of himself,” Mr. Trump said about Mr. Wheeler. “He wanted to be among the people, so he went into the crowd and they knocked the hell out of him. That was the end of him. So it was pretty pathetic.”

The president made the comments during a telephone interview conducted by Fox News host Sean Hannity during the latest episode of his primetime opinion program, “Hannity.”

Mr. Wheeler, who is also Portland’s police commissioner, was gassed late Wednesday evening while at a demonstration in downtown Portland, where nearly two months of daily protests against racial injustice and police brutality recently caused the president to deploy the Department of Homeland Security last week against the wishes of city leaders.

Commenting following the “Hannity” interview the following night, Mr. Wheeler reflected on his experience the previous evening and condemned the government over its use of force.

“What I saw last night was powerful in many ways. I listened, heard, and stood with protesters. And I saw what it means when the federal government unleashes paramilitary forces against its own people,” Mr. Wheeler said on Twitter. “It is unconscionable and un-American. We are all committed to change – this must stop so the work can move forward.”

Protests have taken place daily in Portland for nearly two months following the racially charged killing in Minnesota of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in May.

The Oregonian, the state’s largest newspaper, reported that Mr. Wheeler decided to attend the protest Wednesday evening in spite of safety concerns raised by some of his staffers.

Mr. Wheeler spoke with protesters – and was subjected to some jeers – for roughly two hours before tear gas was fired at around 11 p.m. Wednesday evening, The Oregonian reported.

The tear gas was fired by a federal officer after some protesters shot fireworks at a nearby building, the report said. DHS did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

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